This summer, Tim Connors, a Chatham Creative Writing student and poet interned with us at Eden Hall. He has shared one of his poems with us that we are delighted to share with you.
Thank you for your hard work with us all summer, Tim!
As a boy of maybe eight, I picked docks and thistle
out of freshly cut, drying grass for silage. No gloves, my hands
raw from piling stone walls with my other American cousin,
after we Americans knocked it over playing tip-the-can with our Irish kin
the night before. Warm bright light fell down gentle like silk between
sunny showers. The smell of lunch, fresh ham and black currant pie,
pulled our hearts towards Nanny’s through our stomachs.
We never questioned that grassy field, the one never felled—
less work for the hands, more time for youth’s flitting feet.
We were more than glad it was left to fallow.
Sixteen and I was coming home for the first time
since I’d been cut open, since my heart had been repaired,
since the growth of scar tissue was cut out and the leaking hole
was patched. My brother and sister were children I remembered,
but didn’t know. Dad’s family, at the time, living in a cottage, in a field,
in a town that’s name I did not know; not too far from Nanny’s, I was told.
Later that summer, I revisited a field we used to play in, down the road from
uncle Oliver’s house, a family plot. The skeleton of my home
had begun to form. The field between the two houses
was barren, unfit to graze this season, left this year to fallow.
Twenty four and I haven’t seen Irish soil in two years now,
missed a trip because my passport slipped my mind
in all the chaos of grad school, surgery, moving, life.
Haven’t seen my family since last summer passed. For two days
and a night, I saw my brother’s loud smile and heard my sister’s coy laugh.
I miss the questions they piled on me like stones, mountainous,
how they picked every detail out of me like weeds,
how they collected my words around them like Christmas card reminders,
how tight they held me the night I left again,
faces wet like the fields as we prepared to grow apart.
I wonder if they’ll remember me rightly or fondly.
I wonder if this distance has led our hearts to fallow.